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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,948 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,948
Reviews: 1,081
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 78
Gots: 114 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

**NOTE: This beer is now called "Brutal IPA" **
It has also been bottled as "Portland State IPA" (2010).

An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor and stupendous hop aroma. Rogue brewmaster John Maier describes his Brutal IPA as a cross between a Very Extra Special Bitter and an Indian Pale Ale. Hedonistic!

8 INGREDIENTS: 2-Row, Carawheat, C15 & Rogue Farms Dare™ & Risk™ Malts; Rogue Farms Alluvial™ Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.

22oz Bottle & Draft / 15° Plato / 46 IBU / 81 AA / 13° Lovibond
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,948 | Reviews: 1,081
Photo of BuddyZ
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ypsifly
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated bomber poured into an imperial pint.

Slightly hazed amber with a light tan one finger head that clings to the glass leaving chunky lace in the glass.

Man, those crystal hops have a nice combination of citrus and pine aromas! Juicy and mouth watering. There's some malt sweetness underneath, but you have to search for it a bit.

Again, I'm impressed with this strain of hop. The bitterness builds but stays tasty without going too far. Nice lingering herbal aftertaste from them that never wears out its welcome. The malts are in there too. Just enough to give this one balance and a mouthfeel that is moderate and isn't numbed by the hops.

Rather expensive ($6 a bomber!), but I could drink this all night on a special occasion.

Photo of JamesS
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great dark orange/copper color with a very nice headd and great lacing. Great aroma, a nice bit of bitter hoppiness with a slight sweet scent. Excellent taste, as well, a nice mixture of malts and hops, leaning towards a nice hoppy/bitter flavor and aftertaste. Very smooth beer, a great ESB.

Photo of Cadyfatcat
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cloudy for an ESB, perhaps some organic material left from dry hoping?
Murky light brown colour

gingery hops, taste all over the mouth - the tongue-the top of the mouth-the tonsils-all over. Different levels and dynamics of hop character and bittering. No overpowering floral hop notes that may be more appropriate in an IPA. Earthy and mellow bittering. Berry tea character also comes through, somewhat reminiscent of the malt character in certain dunkel weizen.

A full mouth experience, quite an enveloping beer! Begs to be drunk!

Photo of Kwak
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

nice copper color with a thick fluffy head

the smell was of pine cones, very thick and heavy with hops and a little sweet.

smooth malty taste sweet with a nice hoppy bite not overbearing as the name would have you believe.
it had a real stiff bitterness that was balanced nice with the sweetness.
a nice blend of bitter and sweet, a strong taste but very good

Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rogue's Brutal Bitter poured from a 22 oz. "bomber" bottle with a screened label that lacked any kind of best by or bottling date.

The beer poured a beautiful copper color with an ivory or off white colored head that retained a about 3/8 in. head that left a ring of lacing where I had stopped the initial pour.
I could smell the hoppiness of the brew as I poured it from the bottle, and after putting my nose to the rim of my standard pint glass I noticed a wonderful caramel pressence as well. The beer tasted just as one would expect with a wonderful aroma like it has: a hoppy complexity with citrus hints to it and also a caramel character and a wonderful finishing bitterness to it. I noticed a slightly dry finish as well.

This is a great, and - to me at least - surprising ESB. It's not brutally bitter, as I've seen other reviewers remark as well, but actually wonderfully balanced. I enjoyed this one. Rogue's Brutal Bitter is just drinkable, almost overly so. It is 6.5% abv so it's probably a little too high in the alc. department to be a session brew, but one I'll be returning to again and again.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - a rich honey color, with 3/4 finger of off white foamy head, that slowly laces and craters, moderate carbonation is clearly visible

S - ooh, i love my IBU's and this smells like its gonna be good, a hoppy bitter aroma with hints of honey, and a faint hint of spiciness, hard to place maybe ginger or clove

T - ohhh yeah, that hits the spot, this is just how i like'em, bitter and sweet, smooth and refreshing, has a great bitter kick to it the whole way through, but there is a sweetness to it in the background, like honey (a recurring theme), man, these hops are great, i wish i had got more than one 12 oz'er, i will DEFINITELY get more of this

M - so smooth while so bitter while so sweet, what balance, a great ESB i love this, this is in my top 5

D - high, if you like you're IBU's, so poundable, must .... drink...more brutal bitter ....(Homer drool noise)

Photo of h20mbh
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

standard ipa color (golden orange) with medium carbonation

smells of grapefruit hops, extremely nice smelling, wow

tastes like it smells, not "brutal" by any means, it is just right, extremly nice taste, grapefriut hops (or whatever techincal term it is) comes through so nice, SO NICE!

nice balanace, a little light in density, but not bad

best beeer I've tasted yet, not a beer snob by any means (yet :) ) but this beer is so good, highly recommend, HIGHLY!

Photo of skifreaky
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've consumed a lot of IPAs and I have to say that this has been one of my favorites. It has a nice cloudy appearance with good head, a floral and fruity aroma, a good amount of hops with a nice strong bite, and a very satisfying beer to drink both going down and after. If you are an IPA fan, you will like this beer.

Photo of tastybeer
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful glowing brownish tangerine colored fog with an oily dense bubble head that leaves a nice topping over my beer for the duration. Good mellow malty nose with a nice blend of biscuit, oil, and flowers. Taste is lush and very well balanced. Soft slightly sweet malts with a large range of dry yummy hops. This has a ton of dimensions too it but its deceptive. I can't pick out what exactly is going on because this beer takes balance to the max. Not to mention, I would say extremely pleasantly bitter, not brutally bitter. ''Extremely Pleasant Bitter" for a more accurate title perhaps. Great llliiiingering finish makes me drool for more. Oh so drinkable.

I could see this as being a great session beer. Give me a case and I'll have no problem finishing it off. Awesome.

Photo of ZorPrime
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tasted on July 1st, 2009. Received during CanBIF5 from Ralphus.

A: Cloudy copper yellow color. Very nice looking. Cloudy head (soap style).
S: Hops, citrus. I little piny behind. Intense aroma.
T: Medium strong taste. I would have thought this one was more bitter based on the smell. Hops with some bitterness.
M: Medium body.
D: So easy to drink, it is dangerous.

I would have thought this one to be more bitter, nevertheless, it is an excellent brew! I want more!! :)

Photo of deejaydan
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Imstillthegman and BIF 33 for the chance to try this. Pours a hazy, cloudy orange color, outstanding head retention. Aroma is slightly grassy hops, earthy. Taste is hoppy hoppy hoppy, but in an english hop way, with the earthy flavors, I don't the the grapefruit flavor that is almost expected from Rogue. There is some balance, some malt playing in the background, but this is an up front hoppy beer. Mouthfeel is nice, carbonation is low, but just enough to clean your palate and make it want more. Drinkability is awsome, I think this could be a great session beer.

Photo of mafiasentinel21
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz. poured into a pint glass.

A: Very enticing hazy gold that doesn't leave much transparency. A one inch head from a pretty soft pour stays for about ten seconds. Little lacing stays on the glass.

S: Well...hops. I'm getting floral undertones but there is a definite hop domination.

T: Wow. Very, very tasty. I feel like I'm drinking crispy hop oils, and yet it remains not too overpowering. This is a very vibrant beer, and the balance and the crispness are absolutely insane. Spices just dance around on the palate. Whatever these bittering hops are, they're classy. The finish doesn't have the as strong a punch as I would hope, but it's still nice.

M: Medium - it's pretty smooth. This is a well carbonated beer, erring if at all on the conservative side.

D: Pretty damn high. This beer just drinks very well. Seeing as how it is focused on bitterness rather than the thicker malty Rogue that is usually par for the course, a 6'er is definitely not out of the question.

Overall one of my favorite beers. Just so crisp and hoppy, and it's even more impressive that Rogue can step out of its element to make such a brew. They have a trademark dense fruit + malt taste that this beer doesn't adhere to. Don't ignore this one based on the price tag!!! Hop-heads especially give it a go, you'd be nuts not to!!

Photo of wl0307
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ever since my first encounter with this beer served on cask last year at the BSF bar, GBBF05, my mind has been pre-occupied with the explosive flavour that it showed. No cask this time round at the BSF 06, but I did manage to get a bottle for take-away. No freshness info. printed on the bottle, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: translucent dark reddish-orange in colour, coming with a thick layer of off-white foam with ve...ry good retention; constantly gentle streams of carbonation full of medium-sized bubbles.
S: Goldings+Challenger like fruity hops with sweetened citric-zests and tangerine juice, plus juicy peaches and longan-fruits, caramely malts, a fatty and slightly piney body of fresh hops, and a flow of warming alc. behind; smelling more like an American IPA to me, maybe due to the big and aromatic hoppyness on the balance.
T: a tannic, fat, oily smooth flow of sweet-citric hops lubricates the tongue so smoothly, followed in no time by plenty of longan-fruits, marmalade, caramely malts, as well as a flowery honeyish edge of late-harvested Muscat wine hidden down the sides of the tongue... slightly piney and tannic hop bitterness gradually builds up--not harsh but rather soothing, leading towards an aromatic, tangy bitter-sweet aftertaste full of malts and soft hoppyness and lingering forever down the throat...
M&D: the softer-than-soft mouthfeel results from consistently creamy carbonation, on top of a solid body and a full flavour profile... perhaps because it's served at the temp. more like a cask-conditioned ale, the mouthfeel overall really is smooth and great... Not as "brutal" nor bitter as my first encounter last year, yet the end result with an utterly harmonious balance b/w malts and hops makes it a great beer to quaff or sip, depending on one's mood. If given less sweetness on the nose, it could've been an impeccable premium bitter. Top quality stuff by Rogue, firmly in my top ten Premium Bitters.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured entire bomber into a 34oz mug. Cloudy light orange with a thick, foamy white head that sticks around everywhere. Smell is hops and flowers, but subdued by malty sweetness. I found this rebranded as Brutal IPA, and it is an IPA, so I was expecting a more hoppy taste. The hops are more of an equal presence in the flavor, instead of the overbearing leader. This beer seems to follow its name more than its style; it's more akin to an ESB than an IPA in my opinion. Still a great beer, fullbodied despite the average %abv. A solid offering from Rogue (would you expect anything else?)

Photo of TBoneJones
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muted apricot color, a cloudy, hazy orange. White head, nice looking then settles down. Body looks thick.
Smells citrusy and of pine but with a dank musty note that punches through.
This is different to me. There's the citrus rind hovering above the malty bread, and that dank aspect is there, but nice and smooth, not intrusive. Well balanced indeed. I couldnt help but realize that, especially as this warmed, the taste in my mouth reminded me of the flavor aftermath of those funny cigarettes from college. Just saying.
Mouthfeel is medium-thick, as well as carbonation. Very nice.
Not the assault of hops that I expected (based on this brew's name), but the hops were certainly present, subdued by the sweet malt and bitter throughout until the end. Recommended.

Photo of pibbxtrasucks
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Beer pours a golden/amber color with a decent head that doesn't last too long. As soon as I opened the bottle I swear I could already smell the hops. After the pour I took a big wiff and it was nothing but hops. in a good way. A bitter, hop taste hits you as you take the first sip, and it closes out with a nice earthy, mlty taste. perfect carbonation and nice mouth feel. his is a very good beer, easy to drink and overall very impressive.

Photo of nicnut45
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This one pours a hazy orangeish brown color. The head settles into a nice patchy cloud like appearance. A fine aroma. On the bottle it says only one type of hops employed. Well in this case less is more. I detect a fine grape juice aroma followed by some earthy hops. This reminds me of fruity pebbles cereal. I get tastes of grape juice as I take a sip with a bit of lemongrass. The bitterness is perfect and doesnt have a wierd aftertaste. It is very interesting to say the least. A well crafted beer.
I hate describing mouthfeel in beers but this one is different. The perfect level of carbonation and it is a bit chewey as well. Not too light and definetly not too heavy for its style. I wouldnt drink this all night and I dont think that is what the brewer intended for this one. I would definetly buy it again but I wouldnt drink a six pack in a night. But all in all a very good beer.

Photo of jsh420
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a golden yellow with a 1+ finger head that left no lacing

smells of grapefruit hops and not much else - love it

taste says IPA not ESB - grapefruit hops upfront that mesh well with the sweet malts that come in at the finish

mouthfeel was light and perfectly carbonated

drinkability is out of this world and i am glad i bought a sixer over the bomber

Photo of Loki
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from the infamous Rogue 22oz bomber with tons of info except dates.

Appearance: Dull orange honey color. Very cloudy, hazy, and completely opaque. Big, thick, froathy head with thick weblike lacing. The wheat malt is very evident in the appearance.

Smell: Malt and wheat goodness. Citrusy floral hops. Like somebody fused an IPA and a German Hefe fascinating and nearly maddening all at once. Many unique and varried aromas mingling together wonderfully.

Taste: Sweet malt, wheat, and then bitter citrus. Some floral hop flavors and a little clove. Very well balanced sweet malt and bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Good medium body, but a bit on the dry side for my tastes. Good carbonation

Drinkability: Great. A wonderful blend of malt, hops, and wheat that could be enjoyed anytime of year.

Photo of veech
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one excellent beer and the only thing bitter about the entire experience is me in that I didn't have this available in my area sooner. Pours a slightly hazy deep golden orange with a good 3 fingers of head, resilient carbonation and nice lacing. The floral hoppiness of the nose is very well balance by just the right amount of malted barley. The balance is even more evident in the taste. It starts out a little hoppy, but the substantive body of the malt evens everything out. This results is an excellent drinkability. A 6 pack was $10.69 @ Kroger which is a little spendy for a beer that's not high gravity or high alcohol, but damn is it tasty. Yet more praise for Rogue.

Photo of funkengruven
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice find at the Waterdown LCBO, this pours a dark cloudy amber with nice head retention. Some foam but not a lot of lace. Smell is a good balance of malt and hops, I would say hops are a bit more prominent in this one than most of this style I have tried. Flavor is exceptionally nice. I find that the hop bitterness balances the malt perfectly, and unlike some of the British examples I have tried, the sweetness is subdued somewhat making for a delicious and smooth drink. Drinkability is definitely a plus here and if it wasn't for the strength of this brew it'd be a nice session beer.

Yes, at $7 a bomber it's expensive. However it's worth it, very nice stuff.

Photo of sinistersteve
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A great beer by a great brewery. The name on the bottle says it all. If you can't stand the brutal assault of hops and malt in your mouth, this beer probably isn't for you. The deep, amber color accents the glass nicely. Not much lacing to the glass though. Great aroma that tickles the nose with anticipation of a great tating beer. A must have. Althugh, I do find the new bottle stencil to be quite annoying.

Photo of woemad
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at The Elk Public House in Spokane for $4.

Poured a hazy orange with a big, creamy white head. Lots of lace.

Smell was of sharp hoppiness, with a very well balanced maltiness. Smelled good!

This was a really tasty beer. Probably my new favorite ESB. Most American examples seem to be very medicinal in flavor. This is like an IPA that someone put too much malts into - I mean that in the nicest way possible. Definitely the most flavorful beer I've had all week.

No complaints in the mouthfeel department. This was a medium bodied ale with just the right amount of carbonation.

If I hadn't had to go to work in half an hour (and I'd had more money - $4 a pint is a bit much for more than one), I could easily have had several more. This is a great beer.

Photo of 49degrees
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I kicked off my first venture to the Issaquah Brewing Company (AKA Rogue Brewery) this past week with a bit pint of Brutal Bitter Ale. This extremely strong, bitter, and flavorful beer was a joy to behold.

It poured a nice deep copper color and gave off a large white rocky head that quickly flowed over the edges on the draw and lasted for considerable time in the glass while drinking. In addition to the long last head, the lacing on the glass was fairly extensive from the first to last drop.

Just like the Imperial India Pale Ale (I2PA) from Rogue, the Brutal Bitter doesn’t slug you in the face like some of the most exuberant bitter beers recently brought to market by other brewers. It’s that refined stance that this Brutal Bitter takes that helps make this an enjoyable and very drinkable bitter beer. This one also presents a unique characteristic that gives it a very smooth body like that of an English Bitter with an added malt hit, but still manages to rear the fierce bitter hit that makes this a truly enjoyable ale. In addition to the extensive hoppy characteristics, the Brutal Bitter has a nice blend of citrus fruit, which helps keep the palette tingling, and the flavors ever expanding to further the enjoyment.

Rogue’s Brutal Bitter is a very drinkable bitter beer; so much so, I grabbed a case of it on the way out the door. If you’re a bitter beer drinker, this one is sure to please.

[ STATS:>> SERVING: 16 oz. pint / ABV: unlisted / PRICE: $4.00 USD ]

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,948 ratings.